“Baby Shark” is a children’s song about a family of sharks. Popular as a campfire song, it has taken off since 2016, spreading through social media, online video, and radio.
“Baby Shark” originated from a campfire song or chant. Some sources have mentioned traditional myths as a basis, others camping origins in the early 20th century, and some see it as possibly developed by camp counselors inspired by the movie Jaws. It became a campfire song where each member of a family of sharks is introduced with different hand motions. Different versions of the song have the sharks hunting fish, eating a sailor, or killing people, who then go to heaven.
Various entities have copyrighted original videos and sound recordings of the song, and some have trademarked merchandise based on their versions; however, it is believed that the underlying song and characters are in the public domain.
A dance version of “Baby Shark” was popularized online in the 2007 YouTube video “Kleiner Hai” (German for Little Shark) and published by Alexandra Müller, also known by her stage name Alemuel. This version is set to the theme of Jaws and tells the story of a baby shark who grows up and eats a swimmer. The video quickly gained popularity and EMI offered Alemuel a record deal and published the song accompanied by disco beats on May 30, 2008. The single peaked at 25th on of the German charts and at 21 in the Austrian charts. Based on the single and the original video, the YouTube community created a popular music video. The German version of the song remains popular among German youth groups and multiple variations (also in different dialects of German) have been published.